Friday, March 30, 2012

What about Acts 7:38?

I have been skimming Christ's Prophetic Plans, which is a primer on Dispensational Eschatology. I would like to write a review or a response at some point, but I can't let this pass:

Richard Mayhue asserts, "Furthermore, never in the whole New Testament is 'Israel' ever called 'the church'" (page 82).

This is patently false. Stephen refers to Israel as the church in his sermon:

"This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles to pass on to you" (Acts 7:38).

"The congregation" is the Greek word, ekklesia, which is the word for the church. Thus, Stephen calls Israel the church.

So, whenever you find yourself listening to a Dispensationalist wax eloquent about how Israel is never called the church, simply ask, "What about Acts 7:38?"

6 comments:

Aaron said...

Looking forward to reading more of your blogs.

Aaron

int3grity said...

Ecklesia means "called out ones"

I don't think in the. On text referring to Israel being calle out of the wilderness this is a valid argument for supersessionism.

Eric Adams said...

int3grity,

1) Don't let the Bible get in the way of your theology.

2) Nowhere do I argue for supercessionism. My point is that Israel is the church and that the church is Israel. Acts 7:38 is one small piece of evidence towards this conclusion.

Mike Watts said...

It seems Eric does not understand the dispesationalist that he is so much trying to destroy. Church is not limited to "christians". There is the church of satan, the mormon church...you get the point. God called out the aposlte Paul to be a vessel to the Gentiles. Peter and the other apostles never made it out of Jerusalem. God blinded the Jews for a period of time which is going on now. After the "mystery" rapture God will once again deal with the nation Israel

Jeff said...

Wikipedia says, "Supersessionism, fulfillment theology, and replacement theology are terms long used for the biblical interpretation that the Church supersedes or replaces Israel in God's plan, and that the New Covenant nullifies the Biblical promises made to Israel, including the Abrahamic Covenant, The Land Covenant, and the Davidic Covenant."

You say, "Nowhere do I argue for supercessionism. My point is that Israel is the church and that the church is Israel."

I'm confused...

Your original post says, ""The congregation" is the Greek word, ekklesia, which is the word for the church. Thus, Stephen calls Israel the church."

At first blush, it appears that some translations may support your conclusion. For instance, the KJV says, "This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us"

Of course there are a couple of other things to consider in the usage of the words ekklesia and church. First off, the apparent root of ekklesia and Ecclesiastes are the same. When was the last time you were at ekklesia? Been to Israel lately?

The question I have is this, "What is the difference in the church where Jews gather and the one where Christians gather?"

Another usage is the ancient Greek usage. Again, I quote Wikipedia: "The ecclesia or ekklesia[1] (Greek: ἐκκλησία) was the principal assembly of the democracy of ancient Athens during its "Golden Age" (480–404 BCE)." Were they going church? I bet not all of them.

The problem with stating things in the negative is that it doesn't clarify *your* position. Saying Mayhue is patently false is a continuation of your effort to say what your position is not -- as opposed to what your position is.

What is it please?

Eric Adams said...

Jeff, I believe in continuity between Israel and the church. The church is the continuation of what God began with Israel. There is one people of God throughout history.

The etymology of “church” unnecessarily complicates this. I sort through the detail here:

http://dispensationalist.blogspot.com/2007/07/was-israel-church.html