Supersessionism

I have just read your very intelligent contribution to the series of articles at Theopolis on the relation of Israel to the Church. I would describe myself as supersessionist, but in the sense that Israel and the Church are one, because the Church, rather than a newly created covenant people in parallel with ethnic Israel, is the crucified and resurrected people of the covenant established in the calling of Abraham, which has been brought to a greater level of glory and maturity in Christ. In this way of thinking, the only supersession, or replacement, which has taken place, is the substitution of believing Gentiles for unbelieving Jews in the olive tree of Israel.

I nevertheless believe that Romans 8-11 speaks of a national conversion of the Jewish people at the end of this age. It is also quite apparent that in spite of their rejection of Christ, Paul believes that they are loved of God and retain their uniqueness as the appointed messengers of his salvation for the sake of the nations.

But insofar as they have rejected Christ, who is the yes of the Father unto all the promises made unto Israel, how are we to understand Paul’s assertion about the “gifts and callings of God” to them being “irrevocable”? It is difficult, for example, to comprehend how their “callings”, if we are to understand that as a reference to their priestly vocation as a light to the nations, is capable of being realized so long as they reject Christ.

Any light you can shed for me on this mystery would be greatly appreciated.

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