Recently, our friends David Rudolph, Mark Kinzer, and Kendall Soulen announced that they are beginning the “Society for Post-Supersessionist Theology.” That’s a mouthful. And I say, it’s a mouthful of sweetness!
The creation of this society is another step forward in countering the immeasurable damage that replacement theology has done regarding the church and the Jewish people over the past two thousand years.
Before I share a bit more about this new society and why it is important, I’ll clarify some terms. Simply stated, “supersessionism” is the theological idea that the church has “superseded” the Jewish people. Supersessionism has various forms and layers, but at its core, it involves a way of reading the Bible that transfers promises that were made to the Jewish people over to the church. The term “supersessionism” and the more common term “replacement theology” are synonymous. The main difference between these two terms is that “replacement theology” is a term that is used more by laypeople whereas “supersessionism” is the term that is used in more academic and scholarly circles. These terms are referring to the same paradigm—a paradigm that undermines the faithfulness of God to keep his promises to Israel.
This new society could not be led by three finer individuals—all of whom are friends of First Fruits of Zion.
- Dr. Kendall Soulen is a professor at Emory University. He is the author of an excellent book called The God of Israel and Christian Theology. Since it was published in 1996, Dr. Soulen’s book has challenged many theologians to reconsider their theological frameworks and the supersessionism that clouds how the Bible has traditionally been read.
- Rabbi Dr. Mark Kinzer is known to many in the FFOZ orbit. For many years, Rabbi Kinzer has been at the forefront of the development of the theology of Messianic Judaism and has also interacted in deep and meaningful theological discussions with the church.
- Dr. David Rudolph is the head of the Messianic Jewish studies program at King’s University. Along with Rabbi Kinzer, Dr. Rudolph is one of the most accomplished and capable scholars within Messianic Judaism. He has written several important books including Introduction to Messianic Judaism.
This new society will fill an important function. As stated on the website, “The Society for Post-Supersessionist Theology exists to promote research and discussion that advances post-supersessionist thought.” This is an important mission. A post-supersessionist reading of the Bible is an attempt to restore key biblical concepts that are central to the unfolding of God’s kingdom plans.
Supersessionism undermines the ongoing, unique, and distinct purposes for the Jewish people. This theological framework can be described as the “theological engine” that has driven Christian anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism over the past two thousand years. In all too many cases, supersessionism fed a spirit of triumphalism, which even led to harmful action toward Jewish communities throughout history.
Efforts to root out supersessionism within Christian theology have been increasing in recent decades. There is even a new book series, published by Wipf and Stock Publishers, called “New Testament after Supersessionism.” This series presents post-supersessionist interpretations of various New Testament books. This trend is more than welcome!
We encourage you to check out the Society for Post-Supersessionist Theology website at https://www.spostst.org/. First Fruits of Zion is looking forward to attending the first meeting in Denver in November of 2018. And we are eager to see the good kingdom fruit that emerges from this effort!