When one is involved in Israel advocacy and/or Christian-Jewish relations, the subject of “Replacement Theology” inevitably comes up. This heresy, which can be traced back to the earliest foundations of the Church, states that the Church of Jesus Christ has “replaced” the Jewish People in the plans and purposes of God. The promises made to “Israel” according to this heresy, have now all been transferred to the Church.
This idea is flatly contradicted by multiple passages of Scripture, notably in the 11th chapter of Paul’s Letter to the Romans but also throughout the Book of Revelation.
Nonetheless, it has persisted down through the centuries, even managing to be included in a VERY short list of things that many of the Protestant Reformers retained from the theology and practices of the Roman Catholic Church 500 years ago. Today, among Christian Zionists, PhiloSemitic Christians and the Messianic/Hebrew Roots movements, the heresy of Replacement Theology is widely believed to be the worst heresy of all time and the greatest error the churches can possibly make.
However, I beg to point out that there’s a heresy which is just as bad which many of our brothers and sisters, in their zeal to get as far away from Replacement Theology as possible, adopt. I am talking about Dual Covenant Theology.
Dual Covenant Theology is the idea that the Jewish People don’t need to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ (aka the “New Covenant”) because they’ve got their own, separate Covenant with God that’s just for them.
The reasons people adopt this heresy are varied, but in my experience/observation a common thread is that Philo-Semitic Christians often feel intense guilt over centuries of anti-Semitism expressed by people professing to be followers of Jesus Christ (including many “church fathers” in the first and second centuries as well as those who launched the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century) so they badly want to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
They might also have many Jewish friends or family who tend to be very nice people who piously follow the customs and dictates of their religion and have a high standard of ethics and morality. It’s hard to come to terms with the idea that this is not enough to please God and that they must also do something which they REALLY don’t want to do and that’s accept the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ in order to be saved.
However, just like Replacement Theology, this idea is also flatly repudiated by several passages of Scripture, some of which are hard to hear, but they’re in the Bible just the same.
The most obvious is John 14:16; Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
Dual Covenant Theology has an answer for this, saying that “Jesus was a Torah-Observant Jew, so if a Jewish person is Torah Observant, they’re doing what Jesus did and that takes care of that.”
However, this answer totally ignores much of the New Testament, including 1 John 2:22, which says “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.” Also 1 Timothy 2:5-6; “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.”
There are many other places in the New Testament which simply demolish Dual Covenant Theology and for which there are no pat answers.
Brothers and sisters, please hear me.
We must avoid the mistake of overlearning the lessons of past mistakes and overcompensating for them. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:14, “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it”.
On both sides of that narrow way is a deep ditch. If you manage to climb up out of one ditch and then overcompensate by getting “as far away from it as possible” you’re likely to end up in another deep ditch on the other side of that narrow way.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ, as difficult as it is for many to accept, is the narrow way, running in between those ditches and leading to Salvation and Redemption. It is the ONLY way for anyone to be saved, Jew, Gentile, or whatever. It is therefore the only suitable replacement for Replacement Theology, or any other lie from the Pit of Hell, including Dual Covenant Theology.