Identify and evaluate both the exegetical and theological problems raised by supersessionism.


Supersessionism can be defined as the view that the New Testament (NT) Church is the replacement, continuation or fulfilment of the nation of Israel as the people of God (Vlach, 2007, p. 217), with Old Testament (OT) promises and covenants transferred from ethnic Israel to the Church (Diprose, 2004, p. 2), now seen as the new or true Israel (Marshall, 2012). 

There is a variety of views within supersessionism (Vlach, 2010, p. 13-14), such as punitive supersessionism (Israel was punished for their rejection of the Messiah), and economic supersessionism (Israel fulfilled its pre-established role in God’s plan and is now obsolete). Within both camps we may find moderate supersessionists (p. 20), who would hold to a future nationwide conversion of the Jews. All supersessionists, however, reject the future restoration[1] of Israel in their land as God’s chosen covenant nation (p. 19-20), as well as its implications for God’s plan for humanity.

If supersessionism is wrong, the theological repercussions could be vastly deleterious, since a major theological entity (Israel), seemingly central to God’s programme, would be erroneously displaced.

Our thesis is that the hermeneutics of supersessionism is the cause of widespread exegetical issues, which lead to a theological avalanche affecting several areas of systematic theology. In order to show this, we shall divide our work in three major sections: first, we shall introduce the foundation of supersessionism, namely its hermeneutics; second, we shall analyse their exegesis of passages commonly used as prooftexts; third, we shall outline the wider theological implications. 

Hermeneutics of supersessionism

Supersessionist hermeneutics is commonly believed to have three distinctive features (Vlach, 2010, p. 95). 

First, the hermeneutical priority of the NT over the OT (Strimple, 1999): the NT provides new interpretive lenses to (re)understand the OT (LaRondelle, 1983). Soulen (1996) calls this structural supersessionism. Both NT authors and Christ are said to reinterpret the OT (Sizer, 2008) in a way that would be impossible using the OT text alone (Ladd, 1977).

Second, the nonliteral fulfilment of OT promises to Israel (Ladd, 1977): such promises are reinterpreted into something that is spiritual or allegorical, and fulfilled in the Church (Vlach, 2010).

Third, typological interpretation (Rad, 1986): an OT type is always transcended by a greater NT antitype. Israel—supersessionists say—was never a racial designation and always meant by God to indicate a people of faithful (Sizer, 2008), thus all things concerning Israel are types fulfilled in, and transcended by, Christ and his Church (Strimple, 1999).

Exegetical issues

The thesis within our thesis is that supersessionist hermeneutics is underpinned by a presupposition: national Israel has exhausted its purpose. In other words, we hold that supersessionism is presupposed, not exegetically deduced (Kaiser, 1994). To substantiate this claim, we shall scrutinise several passages. 

Acts 2:16-21. Peter cites Joel 2:28-32. Supersessionists believe this reveals Israel being reconstituted in a new shape (Fitzmyer, 1998), with all OT messianic prophecies being fulfilled (Zorn, 1997). According to Vlach (2010), instead, the passage is only a partial fulfilment of Joel’s prophecy, with Israel’s restoration still in the future.

It is noteworthy that Peter’s primary addressees are the people of Israel (Acts 2:14,22,29,36): if anything is being fulfilled, it is happening in Israel, for Israel. However, Rapp (1995) and Decker (2010) argue that Peter’s quote is not highlighting a fulfilment. In fact, other instances of partial fulfilment are usually accompanied by partial citations.[2] Fruchtenbaum (1994) explains: nothing of what is quoted from Joel is actually happening around Peter, who “is simply applying it to a NT event because of similarity” due to the outpouring of the Spirit (p. 844-45). Finally, the context of Joel is the eschatological “day of the Lord” (Rydelnik, 2019, p. 165), a reference to the Great Tribulation (Fruchtenbaum, 1994, p. 1008), which Pauline writings clearly understand as an event yet to come (1 Th 5:2). 

Acts 15:14-18. James cites Amos 9:11-12. Stott (1994) maintains that this shows Gentile believers now belong to the true Israel, and like Bruce (1988), believes the rebuilt tent of David is the resurrected Christ. In its original context, however, Amos’ text provides nothing that could aid Stott’s and Bruce’s interpretation of the restored tent (Walvoord, 1959). 

Supporters of the “fulfilment in principle” view (Zimmerman, 1963, p. 31) would argue that the passage was quoted to provide scriptural support for the general principle of Gentile conversion; but Jews knew this would happen (p. 36). We believe this was not the issue at hand. Peter (v.14) is said to have ἐξηγέομαι (NASB, ESV: related, NET: explained). This is the same word used to say that Jesus revealed the Father, who no one had seen (Jn 1:18); thus, Peter seems to be revealing a truth hidden in previous ages (Eph 3:5). Then, we are told (v.15) the Prophets συμφωνέω (agree). This word is never used as fulfilment formula (p. 38). Next, we must notice how James changes and introduces words in its OT citation (King, 1989). Amos’ “in that day” is replaced with “After these things”, likely to contrast (and follow from) “how God first visited the gentiles” (v.14 ESV). The word first (πρῶτος) means “first in a sequence of events” (Bauer, Danker, Arndt, & Gingrich, 2000), thus James appears to be communicating a sequence of fulfilments: “[f]irst, the inclusion of Gentiles in […] the Church” (Zimmerman, 1963, p. 39), then the restoration of Israel (David’s fallen tent), which James seems to denote as still future by adding “I will return” to the prophecy (v.16). 

Therefore, James’ goal would appear to be proving the Church programme compatible with Scripture, yet an event that precedes the establishment of the kingdom.

Galatians 3:7,29. Supersessionists argue that since Gentiles are called Abraham’s descendants, they must be spiritual Jews (Vlach, 2010, p. 150). First, this is a non sequitur. Second, even according to the flesh, not all of Abraham’s descendants are Jews (e.g., Ishmaelites; cf. Ro 9:6-9). Third, in 3:8 Paul quotes Genesis 12:3 (which has “the families of the earth” in focus) and not 12:2 (which speaks of the Abrahamic origin of the nation of Israel). Fourth, there are four different meanings attributable to the expression “Abraham’s seed”, depending on context (Fruchtenbaum, 1994). Fifth, Romans 4:11-12 presents Abraham as faith-father of both the circumcised (Jews) and the uncircumcised (Gentiles), he himself having believed before the circumcision. Ergo, supersessionist conclusions from these verses are unwarranted and presupposed.

Galatians 6:16. Historically, the translation of this passage has been subject of dispute, particularly the portion that reads “καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰσραὴλ τοῦ θεοῦ” (NET Greek). The keyword is καὶ, found in both the copulative (“and”) and explicative (“even” or “that is”) senses in the NT (Zerwick & Grosvenor, 1974). Although explicative usage is rarer (Vlach, 2010, p. 143), supersessionists argue in support of it, so that “Israel of God” can be interpreted as “Church” (Carlson, 2018). Yet, this peculiar phrase seems to be evidence against their thesis rather than in favour: the benediction section of a letter is an improbable place to redefine Israel as a non-ethnic entity (Vlach, 2010, p. 145). Moreover, all other 67 instances of Ἰσραήλ in the NT refer to ethnic Israel (Burton, 1920). Therefore, there is no sufficient ground for introducing here an innovative theological concept such as the Church being the new or true Israel (Diprose, 2004).

Grammatically, the explicative sense of καὶ is also doubtful, if not forced altogether (Vincent, 1985, p. 180), as it is rare and unwarranted by the context, that naturally favours the copulative usage: if Paul wanted to convey the supersessionist understanding, he would have eliminated the καὶ altogether (Johnson S. L., 2009, p. 49). 

Thus, the evidence seems to be in favour of “Israel of God” meaning ethnic Jews (Burton, 1920), which could still assume a range of meanings, from the entire nation to just Jewish Christians (Carlson, 2018, p. 22-23). We favour the latter, because of Pauline custom to distinguish between the nation as a whole and the believing remnant (Fruchtenbaum, 1994).

A pertinent question remains: why does Paul add “and to the Israel of God” at all? Several options: it could be a way to single out believing Jews; it could be to praise the Jewish remnant, after having anathemised the Judaizers (Johnson S. L., 2009, p. 45); it could be that Paul knew the nineteenth benediction added to the Amidah (Akers, 2012), and adapted it here (Bruce, 1982).

1 Peter 2:9-10. Peter, quoting from the OT, ascribes a selection of Jewish terminology to the addressees of the letter. For supersessionists, this constitutes evidence that the Church is the new Israel. We, however, maintain that their exegesis is presuppositionally driven; the epistle is unequivocally addressed to believing Jews (Fruchtenbaum, 2005), since the term διασπορᾶς (1:1) is a technical term referring to Jews living outside the Land (Dands, 1990) and Peter is the apostle to the circumcision (Gal 2:8). A long history of commentators, from Origen to Calvin to Wuest, agree (Hiebert, 1992, p. 24). 

Even if Gentiles were in view, the passage might be broadening the concept of “people of God”. However, to conclude from it that Israel no longer has a role in God’s plan is a non sequitur (Vlach, 2010, p. 148): application of “Israel language” to other groups is also found in the OT, e.g. God calls future Egypt “my people” (Is 19:24–25); yet the context makes it clear that Egypt is distinct from Israel (p. 149).

Ephesians 2:11-22. Since Gentiles “are no longer strangers and aliens, but […] fellow citizens with the saints” (2:19 NASB), supersessionists claim this section as proof of the Church being the new Israel. We believe the key to understand this passage is the “six σύν compounds” (Hoch, 1992, p. 113):

συμπολίται, “fellow citizens” (2:19); συναρμολογουμένη, “joined together” (2:21); συνοικοδομεῖσθε, “built together” (2:22); συγκληρονόμα, “heirs together” (3:6); σύσσωμα, “members together of one body” (3:6); συμμέτοχα, “sharers together” (3:6).

Ephesians 3:6 reveals that which had been hidden from men “in other generations” (3:5): Gentiles become partakers of the promise with Israel; yet they do not become Israel themselves. Just like men and women share equally in salvation blessings (Gal 3:28) but continue to have different roles (Vlach, 2010, p. 154).  

Romans 2:28-29. Supersessionists claim the term Jew no longer refers exclusively to ethnic Jews—circumcised in the flesh—but that faith in Christ—circumcision of the heart—makes one a true Jew, regardless of ethnicity (Vlach, 2010, p. 129). However, Romans 2:17-3:20 addresses Jews, and in 2:28-29 the apostle is simply saying that to be a true Jew, ethnicity is not sufficient; faith is required (Fruchtenbaum, 1994, p. 703-704; Dt 30:6). 

Romans 9:6. According to supersessionists, since “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel”, Gentiles (who did not physically descend from Jacob) should be counted as Israel by faith(Grudem, 2004; Robertson, 1980). First, this is a non sequitur. Second, vv.1-5 reveal a Jewish context (Bruce, 2014; Getty, 1988; Ladd, 1994). Romans 9 explains how God elected Israel to be the vehicle of God’s blessings to the world (Gn 12:3), and why Israel’s current national rejection of the gospel does not mean God’s promises to Israel have been nullified or transferred (Lopez, 2009): quoting from Isaiah and Hosea (vv.27-28), Paul himself clarifies that a remnant of faithful Israelites are still fulfilling God’s purpose and are recipients of the patriarchal promises. Thus, rather than expanding the meaning of Israel, the apostle restricts it to a subset of faithful Jews.

Romans 11:16-24. Supersessionists see the root of the Olive Tree as Israel (Vlach, 2010) and claim that Gentiles have been incorporated into it, forming the true ‘Israel of God’. Even if Gentiles were being incorporated into Israel, how would that imply that the Church takes over Israel’s role? Nevertheless, their exegesis is problematic. First, their conclusion would not comport with Paul’s clear statement in 11:1: God has not rejected his chosen people. Second, in 11:24 the tree is said to belongto (and not be) the wild branches (the Jews). Third, biblical evidence seems to point to the root being patriarchal blessings flowing through the Abrahamic covenant (Lopez, 2009, p. 227; Fruchtenbaum, 1994, p. 743; Vlach, 2010, p. 155), which are for both Israel (Gn 12:2) and Gentiles (Gn 12:3). Fourth, the broken-off branches are clearly Jews, and the grafted-in ones are Gentiles, who are said to be partakers, but never said to become Israel.[3]

Romans 11:25-26. Supersessionists have historically provided three different interpretations of “all Israel” in this passage (Vlach, 2010). The first view is that it simply means “the Church”. This is unlikely from both a linguistic and exegetical point of view: Romans 9-11 as a unit does not leave room for a non-ethnic Israel (Nanos, 1996). The second view argues that “all Israel” refers to elect Jews (in the Calvinistic sense) throughout history (Merkle, 2000). This, too, would appear improbable: it is no mystery (v.25) that believing Jews would attain eternal life. The third view sees this passage as referring to a future nationwide conversion of Israel, but not to its restoration as nation. However, national salvation is only one way God’s faithfulness remains on Israel (Blaising, 2001), the other being the eschatological restoration of Israel (11:12,15): the election, gifts and calling of Israel (9:4-5) remain (11:28-29). This is made clear in 11:27, where the salvation of the Jews is linked to the promises of the New Covenant found in Jeremiah 31:31-34, itself an expansion of the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants, and thus inclusive of the land promise (Kaiser, 1988, p. 302).

Hebrews 8:7-13. Supersessionists believe that “the author views the church as the true Israel” (Grudem, 2004, p. 862) because a quote from Jeremiah 31:31-34 is found in a NT letter. However, the New Covenant (NC) is said to be stipulated with the houses of Israel and Judah; we find it exegetically impossible to make these a reference to the Church. 

We have seen how Romans 11:27 confirms that national conversion and restoration of the Jews is found in the NC. Yet a number of passages do connect the NC with the Church (Lk 22:14-20; 1 Cor 11:25; 2 Cor 3:6; etc.). Historically, the popular solution to this seeming conundrum has indeed been supersessionism, which spiritualises all promises to Israel through an inconsistent hermeneutics (Walvoord, 1975, p. 17). We believe, instead, that a straightforward solution by means of grammatical-historical hermeneutics exists, and has already been presented in this work: Gentiles partake in Israel’s blessings (Eph 2:11-16,3:5-6; Ro 11:16-24) and covenants (Fruchtenbaum, 1994). After all, the covenants belong to the Jews (Ro 9:4).

We also find it technically impossible for any covenant to be made with the Church: a covenant requires at least two parties. The Church would have had to exist prior to the NC in order for it to be made with the Church. Despite some may think the Church always existed (Buswell, 1962), it is in fact a dynamic body of people that results from the NC and grows by means of Spirit baptism (1 Cor 12:13), which, too, is made a possibility by the NC (Mk 1:8; Lk 22:20; Jn 20:22).

Finally, in Jeremiah 31:35-37, the NC promise continues using unequivocally ethnic language when it states that God does not intend to cast off Israel’s progenie.

Theological issues

The core theological issue with supersessionism is the area of Israelology: the nation of Israel, a major theological entity, is displaced and believed to be cast off forever by God (Vlach, 2010, p. 123). The Church—the New Israel—takes its place, and no future restoration awaits the Jewish nation. 

At the heart of this issue lies the conviction that becoming part of (a renewed and transcended) Israel is the destiny of all believers; yet, Scripture never teaches this (Vlach, 2010, p. 4): Israel is the vehicle—not the destination—of salvation (Vantassel, 2013, p. 220). Furthermore, the view that a spiritual body of believers transcending earthly promises is an inherently superior view of God’s people seems more akin to Platonism than to Christianity (Vlach, 2010, p. 117). It is also worth noting a somewhat embarrassing feature of supersessionist Israelology: their appropriation of Israel terminology for the Church is limited to the favourable passages, whereas unpleasant passages (e.g., judgment) are interpreted as being for ethnic Israel (Kaiser, 1994, p. 7).

The scriptural reality is that the NT continues to distinguish between Jews and Gentiles: the apostle Paul sees Jews, Gentiles and the Church as three different groups (1 Co 10:32), and makes a distinction between Israel according to the flesh (1 Co 10:18), i.e. the whole nation, and the remnant of Israel (Ro 11:4-5), also known as Israel of God (Gal 6:16), i.e. believing Jews, a distinct subset of the Church. The eschatological restoration of Israel is clearly taught by both OT and NT (Vlach, 2010, ch. 15); cf. Dt 30:1-6; Ez 37:21–29; Je 33:25-26; Mt 19:28; 23:37; Lk 21:24.

Naturally related to Israel is the matter of the covenants. Confounding Israel with the Church means that unconditional promises such as the Land or the Davidic covenants will never be fulfilled (Fruchtenbaum, 1994, p. 631-32). Conversely, the Mosaic covenant—conditional and now inoperative (p. 643)—is seen as still in effect by some (p. 61).

In essence, supersessionism is unable to comprehend the true role of Israel, leading to issues in other areas of theology.  


Jesus’ language points to the Church being still a future entity during his earthly ministry (Mt 16:18). Yet, covenant theologians see Israel as the OT incarnation of the Church,[4] which they define as the body of all believers throughout all ages (p. 118,153); with the coming of Christ, the Church becomes a spiritual people from all nations (p. 230). This is not far from what Roman Catholicism believes (Pope Paul VI, 1964). Unsurprisingly, this causes many to see the Church where it is not; for instance, when Matthew 21:43 says the kingdom will be given to another ἔθνει (“people” or “nation”), supersessionists take ἔθνει to be the Church(Kingsbury, 1975, p. 157). However, the Church cannot be said to be an ἔθνει (Fruchtenbaum, 1994, p. 192), and supersessionists also overlook that Jesus was addressing the religious leaders, not the whole nation. The other “nation bringing forth its fruit” (21:43 YLT) is simply future Israel (Vlach, 2010).


Structural supersessionism “ignores or removes the Hebrew Scriptures from having a voice” (Vlach, 2010, p. 17); in fact, it takes their primary meaning away from the OT text, which is not to be approached in a way that accounts for authorial intent (p. 94). Yet, determining authorial intent remains academically defensible and legitimate (Köstenberger, 2008): “authorial meaning is textual meaning” (p. 39). The inherent perspicuity of Scripture is also endangered (Pettegrew, 2004).

The principle of nonliteral fulfilment sits in stark contrast with the long history of hermeneutics—including Jewish hermeneutics (Cohen, 2020)—where the literal meaning is never abrogated or replaced by so called “higher levels” of meaning. Modern scholarship agrees (Thomas, 2002; Vlach, 2010); in fact, Fruchtenbaum (1994) points out that NT authors cite the OT in four different manners, none of which reinterprets the literal meaning, but builds upon it (p. 842-44). 

Similarly, typological interpretation reduces Israel to a mere type of the Church. However, types are naturally revealed by grammatical-historical (or literal) hermeneutics (Stallard, 2000), which raises questions regarding both the necessity and the validity of typological interpretation. Additionally, “several NT passages appear to rely quite literally on many eschatological details found in the OT” (Vlach, 2010, p. 107), thus the OT cannot be relegated to a book of types. After all, first-century hermeneutics used types to illustrate biblical principles, not to construct doctrine from them (Prasch, 2013).

Other doctrines related to bibliology are naturally affected by supersessionist hermeneutics, such as inerrancy, inspiration, and canonicity. Yet, Christ seems to uphold all of these when he presents belief in the Scripture as a necessary precondition to belief in the resurrection (Lk 16:31).

With Scripture being God’s communication act to mankind (Barrick, 2004)— rendered necessary by the ontological divide between God and man (Zuck, 1991)—the true meaning of a segment of Scripture cannot reside in a different portion that would be revealed several centuries in the future.

Theology proper

Structural supersessionism also negatively affects God’s revealed attributes: God’s good faith in providing revelation becomes questionable (Feinberg, 1988) as he would have effectively deceived the original OT authors (Peters, 1988). His truthfulness (Ti 1:2) is called into question, and so is his faithfulness to Israel (Je 33:25-26). 

Eschatology / Kingdom programme

Supersessionism’s view of biblical history centres on redemption (Clowney, 2002), whereas non-supersessionism centres on the bigger picture of consummation (James, 2017): the restoration of all things lost with the Fall (Soulen, 1996). The difference in approach has several consequences. We have already seen some of the impact on ecclesiology; additionally, the Church is also seen as corresponding to the Kingdom (Fruchtenbaum, 1994, p. 42). This interpretation arises early in Church history (Diprose, 2004); in fact, a longstanding tradition criticises the disciples in Acts 1:6 for clinging to a parochial view of an earthly and Judeocentric kingdom (Ash, 2015, p. 366). Jesus’ words “my kingdom is not of this world” (Jn 18:36) are used as evidence for a spiritual view of the kingdom—the Church. But did Christ mean he and the disciples were merely spiritual when he said they were not of this world (Jn 17:16)? Cearly not. Thus, Christ meant simply that his kingdom originates from heaven (Michaels, 2010). Judeocentrism also does not equate to a narrow view of the Kingdom, which both the OT and Judaism in general see as eschatologically global (Maston, 2015). As a matter of fact, Jesus’ answer in Acts 1:7 is not a rebuke, like supersessionists claim (Pentecost, 1965), but a confirmation that Israel’s restoration and its kingdom are future (Mangum, 2020). 

Yet, amillennial and postmillennial understandings of eschatology have dominated Church history: a future earthly messianic kingdom is rejected and seen by some as just a “Jewish fable” (Powell & Rushdoony, 1977, p. 8). They hold that Christ is currently on David’s throne, confounding Christ’s providential rule at the Father’s right hand with his Davidic rule in his mediatorial reign on earth(Johnson E. E., 2013, p. 104).

Furthermore, postmillennialism adds the notion that the Mosaic law “constitutes a continuing norm for mankind and that it is the duty of the civil magistrate to enforce it” (Kline, 1978, p. 172-73). This idea is called Theonomy (Lightner, 1986).[5] For theonomists, the success of the great commission is linked to the view that the “Church-Kingdom” will fill the earth and “conquer” the nations, bringing about widespread obedience to the Law (Bahnsen, 1976) and, in turn, the second advent. In our assessment, this vision clashes with Jesus’ own depiction of the world prior to his second coming: a society where “lawlessness will increase” (Mt 24:12 NET).

Conversely, non-supersessionists will never conflate the Church with Israel or the Kingdom. Some would adhere to an “already/not-yet” view, which sees the Church as the spiritual inauguration of the kingdom (Bock, 1992); we, however, maintain that the Church is never called “the kingdom”, which is wholly future (Derickson, 2006). Though God’s programme has included the establishment of an earthly dominion through human representatives from the beginning (Gn 1:28), this will become a reality only with Christ’s rule from earth, since Adam and Israel both failed this mission (Vlach, 2017). Christ’s kingdom will then extend from the Millennium (Rev 20) to the eternal abode of the redeemed: a physical “new heavens and new earth” (Rev 21), the latter being one more thing lost under supersessionism’s platonic view of the spiritual realm (Vlach, 2010, p. 117), which has historically depicted an eternal “heavenly” home more akin to Dante Alighieri’s Paradiso (Ziolkowski, 2015) than to the new creation.


Failure to correctly understand Israel has led some supersessionists to incorrectly use some passages to justify belief in unconditional election and perseverance of the saints, which we hold to be a gnostic heritage syncretised with Christianity by Augustine (Wilson, 2012).[6] The word “elect” in Matthew 24:22 is usually understood either in the Calvinistic sense or in the sense of corporate election (Hunter, 2013), both leading to take “elect” as to mean Church believers; yet the context (vv.15-21) reveals that “the elect” is Israel (cf. Is 45:4). Similarly, Matthew 24:13 is often used to prove that a believer is only saved if they persevere till the end of life. However, “the end” refers to the culmination of the Great Tribulation, also known as “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Je 30:7 KJV): believers who will not persevere till such time is over shall not be ushered into the kingdom alive (Mt 24:40). In other words, they would not be saved from natural death. 

Furthermore, failure to understand the kingdom will lead to confusing the gospel of the kingdom(Vickers, 2004) with the gospel of grace, i.e. the message of eternal life (Myers, 2006), adding repentance as condition to the latter, when it belongs to the former (Vlach, 2016). Similarly, passages like the Parable of the Talents (Mt 25:14-30) may be misinterpreted in such a way that works become part of the message of eternal life (Woods, 2016), either as explicit condition or as an implicit one where deeds are seen as natural and necessary manifestation of the gospel in the believer. All this leads to problematic framings of soteriology, such as Arminianism, Lordship Salvation, Roman Catholicism, as well as Calvinism itself (Myers, 2004).


Based on the arguments presented, we conclude that supersessionism agrees more with their presuppositions than it does with the text of Scripture (Saldarini, 1994, p. 59). The vast confusion in understanding Israel and the Church is a testimony to this: the Church is first said to be Israel, then to inherit the Kingdom, then to be the Kingdom, and finally to have always existed under different names and forms, including ethnic Israel.

Furthermore, we have seen the ripple effect of supersessionism reaching core doctrines such as soteriology. This highlights why supersessionism cannot be seen as a marginal issue and explains whyPaul warns the grafted-in branches not to grow arrogant against the natural branches (Ro 11:18). Whether intentionally or not, supersessionism does exactly that, and it would seem a hazardous thing to do, since those who no longer regard Israel as a nation are also said to “despise Israel” (Je 33:24 NASB95). Though many modern scholars take great distance from antijudaic positions (Waldron, 2008), it is undeniable that anti-Jewish bias has often gone hand in hand with supersessionism (Vlach, 2010, p. 5). Hence everyone should seek wisdom and knowledge from a place of humilty (Pr 11:22).


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[1] The key distinguishing factor of a non-supersessionist position. 

[2] e.g., Luke 4:18 quotes Isaiah 61:1-2, but omits the final two thirds of verse 2.

[3] Same imagery as in Ephesians 2:11-16,3:5-6.

[4] Only some premillennial covenant theologians hold that the Church began at Pentecost (Acts 2) and is not OT Israel (Ladd, 1977).

[5] See also “Kingdom Now” theology (Woods, 2016), Christian Reconstructionism, Dominion Theology (Bahnsen, 2002).

[6] Election is vocational, not soteriological (Wilkin, 2012).