Various Forms of Replacement Theology

Some replacement theologians prefer the title “fulfillment theology” in describing their view of Israel’s current and future role in relation to the church. Since “supersessionism” is a term that describes both “replacement theology” and “fulfillment theology,” that term can be used interchangeably with “replacement” and “fulfillment” terminology in describing various forms which the two theologies may take. Supersessionism is the view that the NT church is the new and/or true Israel that has forever superseded the nation Israel as the people of God. It may take the form of “punitive supersessionism,” i.e., God is punishing Israel for her rejection of Christ. Or it may be in the form of “economic supersessionism,” i.e., it was God’s plan for Israel’s role as the people of God to expire with the coming of Christ and be replaced by the church. The final form of supersessionism is “structural supersessionism,” i.e., the OT Scriptures are largely indecisive in formulation of Christian conviction about God’s work as consummator and redeemer. Strong supersessionists hold that Israel has no future in the plan of God, but moderate supersessionists see a divine plan for the future salvation of the Jews as a group, but not their national restoration to the promised land. This last view holds that Israel is the object of God’s irrevocable gift of grace and calling, but that such a role guarantees them no national blessing as the OT promised. It assures them only of becoming part of the church as the people of God.