Book Review of Has the Church Replaced Israel?

Michael Vlach, Has the Church Replaced Israel? A Theological Evaluation

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: B & H Academic, 2010
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-0805449723

Vlach, now at The Master’s Seminary, wrote his 2004 dissertation at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary on this subject, known more technically as supersessionism. A brief introduction to the topic explains that although many supersessionists disavow the term, preferring instead to describe the Church as the fulfillment or the fruition of Israel, such distinctions fail to resolve the hermeneutical assumptions and exegetical problems that bedevil covenant theology. Part 2 traces the rise of supersessionism in church history, from the Patristic era to the present. Part 3 is devoted to explaining and evaluating the hermeneutics of supersessionism and non-supersessionism. Part 4 focuses on arguments for and against supersessionism.

Vlach’s writing style is not always as polished as one might wish; in places it sounds like a modified dissertation. That’s not to say it is an overly technical or difficult read; it is eminently accessible. Any stylistic weaknesses are far outweighed by the reality that his treatment of the history and hermeneutics of supersessionism is extremely helpful in filling an informational gap in the theological and hermeneutical debate that has existed for far too long. It certainly does not end the debate; its contribution lies in the questions it both answers and raises. Any student who wants to better understand the underpinnings of covenant and dispensational theology needs to read this book.

Reviewed by: Layton Talbert, Ph.D., Professor of Theology in BJU Seminary.

This book is available at www.BjuCampusStore.com

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