Everything about 'replacement' theology bothers me, but lately there's something about it which bothers me even more. Possibly one reason it does that is because I haven't really examined it till now, and it's this: behind 'replacement' theology is the colossally spiritually arrogant assumption that, of course, the Jews got it all wrong because (fill in the blank) but most often it has to do with how ruthlessly legalistic, vengeful and letter-oriented (as opposed to spirit-oriented) they were as opposed to we sweet Aryans, Africans, Arabs or whatever. We are truly loving people. We are the good little boys and girls who are sweet and docile and because (especially when compared with those wicked, ungrateful, kvetching Joos (how would Michele Bachmann mangle that word?)) of that, we got it right! Nyaaaaaahhhh! Nyaaaaahhh! Nyaaaaahhhh!
Right. We would never allow the letter to tie us up in legalistic knots and hair-splitting. We would never avenge one of our eyes with both our enemy's eyes and his relations as well; we would never seek revenge at all! Except on God's enemies, of course. Anyone notice how our enemies are classified as God's enemies as well? While it's probably true that the first Gentile Christians greeted the Good News without the 'baggage' which most Jews carried then, it didn't take them long at all to start accumulating their own 'baggage' and attaching it to God's narrative, now did it? Can we, in good conscience, deny that our eyes (especially the jaundiced eyes of the powerful) might be just as blind as were Annas's and Caiaphas's party in the Sanhedrin (it's worth remembering that 1) they didn't usually meet at night, 2) they didn't summon members likely to disagree with their agenda--sound familiar, Scott Walker et al.?--3)Gamaliel, then the president of the Sanhedrin, was not at Jesus's 'trial'--in short, the Sanhedrin's majority party stacked the deck!) and the eyes of the 'loaded' Jerusalem mob the next day? That we can either accumulate too much extraneous 'religious baggage' and/or be too frightened of losing what we have to see what, and with whom, God is doing? Make no mistake, Annas and Caiaphas and those they led were terrified! Not so much, probably, of Jesus himself as of Pilate and the Romans: I've heard that when Jesus drove the moneychangers from the Temple, Annas, Caiaphas & co. had almost all they could do to convince Pilate this was only a 'domestic disturbance' and not the beginning of a revolt against Rome. Anyone ready to say they wouldn't be terrified under such circumstances? Any guesses as to how much Attila terrified Pope Leo I? Or how other barbarians terrified his successors? Take a long look at both Christian and Muslim history and tell me how much 'baggage' they, and we, didn't either keep from pagan days or didn't accumulate!
The Muslim community, majorities and minorities, is now in the throes of struggle of liberating spirit vs. the lethal letter. Among us, the lethal letter's force is weakened but the Spirit still needs nurturing and strengthening. Even in Israel, that battle is still being fought.
We so have no business, none whatsoever, acting as if 1) God was a man to dump Israel for us, 2) we're more 'spiritual', or spiritually fruitful, than Israel, 3) God's promises to Israel now belong to us. All that is a steaming, noisome pile of taurine droppings. The only way in which we Christians are the 'new Israel' is the same way that the states in the United States from Vermont forward are 'new states'. The original thirteen might be the 'old states', but they never stopped being states. And God never has, nor ever will, abrogate His covenant with the elder Israel. To say so is like saying our original thirteen states are no longer under the Constitution! No, our business is to stand with Israel as our senior in communion with God, as the trunk to which we branches have been grafted, as our miner's canary who tells us whether there are noxious gases seeping into the mine and as civilization's frontline in (by our 21st century lights) a profoundly savage region.
Let us pray that God may open our eyes to these things so that some of us may turn from our misguided folly regarding Israel and her enemies to where we all need to be for God's Kingdom and our civilization. This is one instance where the interests of both actually do coincide.