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Covenant Versus Replacement Theology

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“And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.” ~ Acts 3

I have great love and much respect for my faithful Jewish brethren. They are the people of the promise; they in whom the original Covenant was bestowed. If it were not for them, there would be no hope.

And yet, there is the fulfillment. This does not mean our Jewish brethren must, or even should, lose their identity (i.e. what defines them, their culture and what makes them special and unique). Were not Jesus and a majority of first generation Christians of Jewish descent? And yet, without Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they are incomplete.

With this in mind, I would like to share my open letter to Dr. Phillip Cary, the highly regarded professor of Philosophy at Eastern University and author/religious historian, on the topic of Covenant Theology in response to an online lecture of his:

Dear Dr. Cary

I agree with your overall message, but is there a flip side to this argument in which we can minimize Jesus the Savior and His sacrificial substitutionary atonement? I know you don’t take it there, but just wondering if you adhere to Covenant theology? {I’m not speaking of any sort of ‘replacement’ perspective}.

Not that there aren’t Jews that need be grafted in, but that without Jesus we all do perish. We should remain charitable and patient for sure. We are not to condemn or mistreat those of whom grace was made a possibility for us, obviously…

Unfortunately, I just listened to one of your answers at the end of the lecture and I believe that’s where I would have to disagree with you a bit, as I think you get into salvation outside Jesus territory for the Jews by writing it off as a mysterious matter regarding who gets saved, which I believe is a greater danger than all the good you are teaching regarding our need for humility and charity toward our Jewish brethren.

Dr. Cary did provide a prompt response, which is something I always greatly appreciate about this tender and compassionate instructor of the faith.

“I certainly don’t think there’s salvation apart from Christ. But I do think the mercy of Christ extends beyond those who have made conscious decisions for him. It includes lots of infants, for example. It includes Jews who are faithful to the covenant with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, even if they don’t believe Jesus is Lord. And it includes whole heaps of the poor, the afflicted and the oppressed.”

*Again, I appreciate Dr. Cary’s response. I wonder if he sees a distinction between Judaism and Messianic Judaism as it relates to one’s standing with God. I feel as if we would have to overlook a great deal of scripture to not acknowledge the full necessity of Christ, but I am no expert on these matters nor do I know the mind of God.

Here is some further reading on the topic:

http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/qna/replacement.html

https://carm.org/questions-replacement-theology

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/the-church-and-israel-the-issue/

http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Articles/Israel/israel.html



 

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