Replacement Theology: The "Jewish Problem" in Modern Christianity

If we want to be serious followers of Jesus (Yeshua), we must be serious followers of His word. If we look at what His word calls of us, we (as modern Christians) have a major problem, a Jewish problem. Our 21st-century church's trend in abandoning her recognition and responsibility toward Israel is leading to many Christians replacing it with Western and secularized philosophies. Many Christians no longer believe that Israel and the Jewish people hold any significance in our walk with God.

The relationship between Christianity and Judaism has evolved significantly over the past two thousand years, and the reasons for the changing importance of Israel and the Jewish people to the modern Christian Church are messy and complex.

One factor is the growing secularization of Western societies and churches, which has led many Christians to prioritize social justice issues, such as poverty, racism, and environmental degradation, over theological debates about the relationship between Christianity and Judaism. Gen Z (my generation) has always lived in a world very post-Christendom - meaning "the culture that emerges as the Christian faith loses coherence within a society that has been definitively shaped by the Christian story and as the institutions that have been developed to express Christian convictions decline in influence" (Dr. Stuart Murray).

Additionally, even within the Church, there is a major shift happening. Many Christian denominations have shifted their theological focus away from end-time prophecy and the restoration of Israel as a nation-state. Instead, they have emphasized the universal message of Jesus Christ and the importance of building bridges between different faith communities.

Many Christians today recognize the commonalities between Judaism and Christianity but have actually developed a dangerous and counter-scriptural theology of supersessionism (replacement theology). This theology describes the conviction that the Christian Church has superseded the Jews and the nation of Israel, assuming their role as God's covenanted people. Supercessionists believe the New Covenant through Jesus Christ has superseded or replaced the Mosaic covenant exclusive to Jews. Replacement theology also holds that the universal Christian Church has replaced ancient Israel as God's true Israel and that Christians have succeeded the ancient Israelites as the people of God. To a supersessionist, even though the entire Bible was written by and about the Jewish people, the Jews hold absolutely no significance today.

Overall, the changing importance of Israel and the Jewish people to the modern Christian Church is the result of a messy mixture of social, cultural, theological, and historical factors. Over the years, Israel as an emphasis in the Christian faith has become less and less prominent. 

Even in my lifetime, I've noticed the difference. As a young kid growing up in the church, evangelicals held a strong affinity for Israel because of its close theological and historical ties with our faith. Today, it's hardly mentioned.

At one time, because God viewed Israel as important, so did the church - however because of modern political strife, paired with the watering down and elimination of Old Testament teaching and preaching, young evangelicals have wavered in their support for Israel.

We as young followers of Jesus (Yeshua) in 2023 need to find a way to connect our passion and need for social justice with our scriptural worldview. Social justice offers criticism of Israel's political struggle with Palestine, whereas a biblical worldview believes that God has a heart for Israel, both its land and its people. We need to be in the world, but not of it, but also not outside of it.


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