Michael J. Vlach, Has the Church Replaced Israel? A Theological Evaluation (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2010), 224 pp.
Reviewed by Nathan Pratt (Windsor, ON)
In this thorough evaluation of replacement theology (also known as supersessionism), Michael Vlach (The Master’s Seminary) seeks to answer a crucial question: “Has the Church replaced Israel?” He concludes that supersessionism (a doctrinal view held by many Reformed Theologians) is not a biblical doctrine. Vlach states that “supersessionists have not made a compelling case that the Church is the new Israel or that the Church fulfills national Israel’s place to such an extent that the nation Israel will not be restored.” This argument is made by looking at supersessionism in light of four key areas: (1) definition, (2) Church history, (3) hermeneutics, and (4) the theological arguments and proof-texts used to promote supersessionism. Vlach then reserves the final few chapters to present God’s future plan for the nations, along with a case for the restoration of national Israel.
This book takes great care in providing an accurate presentation of the opposing view. The footnotes are extensive but never excessive. With the help of scholars like Feinberg, Ryrie, Blaising and Bock, the author correctly defines and respectfully dismantles supersessionism and redirects the reader to a biblical framework for understanding the relationship between Israel and the Church. The book ultimately calls us to long for His appearing and the restoration of all things, including Israel.