This is the last in a series of blog posts on my reading journey of Dr. Michael J. Vlach’s Has the Church Replaced Israel? A Theological Evaluation.
PART 9: Conclusion
Admittedly, I took my time reading through this book due to its technical nature. At first blush, it seemed like this subject might be an enigmatic one. To fully comprehend the biblical, historical, and theological arguments—meant that I would have to consume this meal in courses (and I’m a slow eater to begin with!).
As professor of theology at The Master’s Seminary, Dr. Vlach gets this. His book is broken down intro four sections that carefully and clearly cover each of those topics. I expect I’ll make frequent use of this resource when dealing with the relationship between Israel and the church in my future studies.
In his final chapter, the author emphatically expresses why the student of God’s Word can come to no other conclusion about Israel but that of a nonsupersessionist:1
The NT affirms the OT expectations concerning a restoration of Israel. When this is coupled with the fact that no texts clearly identify the church as Israel or teach the permanent rejection of Israel, the case for supersessionism is unconvincing, and the case for Israel’s restoration is strong. Thus, we agree with [W.C.] Kaiser when he says, “To argue that God replaced Israel with the church is to depart from an enormous body of biblical evidence.”
[C.E.B.] Cranfield is an example of a scholar who let the biblical evidence change his views toward Israel. Cranfield admitted that he used to hold to the view that the church replaced Israel in the plan of God. He said, “And I confess with shame to having also myself used in print on more than one occasion this language of the replacement of Israel by the Church.” His study of Romans 9-11, including its implications for God’s electing purposes, those convinced him otherwise:
It is only where the Church persists in refusing to learn this message, where it secretly—perhaps unconsciously!—believes that its own existence is based on human achievement, and so fails to understand God’s mercy itself, that it is unable to believe in God’s mercy for still unbelieving Israel, and so entertains the ugly and unscriptural notion that God has cast off His people Israel and simply replaced it by the Christian Church.
We must always approach the Word of God humbly, and with a teachable spirit. It is my hope that our brothers and sisters in Christ who hold to a supersessionist view would pick up a copy of this book and commit some serious time in exploring the matter further. I say this not to win an argument, but rather to…
…embrace the explicit biblical evidence concerning Israel and give God the glory that His electing purposes for Israel still stand.