The PCUSA and "replacement theology"

Jim Berkley, Interim Director of Presbyterian Action, writes with a valuable clarification and correction on the position of the Presbyterian Church, USA as described here

I read with interest your article in The American Thinker. With much of it I am in hearty agreement, but I felt I needed to let you know that one assertion is not quite accurate. You wrote:

"In 1987 the PCUSA formally rejected  Replacement Theology:

'We believe and testify that this theory of supersessionism or replacement is harmful and in need of reconsideration....We affirm that both the church and the Jewish people are elected by God for witness to the world...  We affirm the continuity of God's promise of land along with the obligations of that promise to the people Israel.

This official position...'

Actually the 1987 paper was not an official position that could formally reject anything. That would take a policy statement or a resolution at least. In this case, the General Assembly merely recommended a Provisional Study Paper to the churches for their consideration and feedback. I know that even the PCUSA establishment tends to treat it as some solemn decree that we have made, but that is what I've termed "document creep." See my blog on the matter: (It's in the second half of the posting.)  It is not exactly correct to say we "rejected" Replacement Theology, because that "rejection" came in a form that is not authoritative and cannot be accurately labeled an "official position." Any confusion on the matter, however, is entirely the fault of some spinmeisters in the PCUSA establishment, as my blog points out.

In 2008 a study group should report back to General Assembly on what may become a new theological paper for reflection or maybe a new policy on the matters you speak about. They will give only a progress report this June at General Assembly.  I have some reservations about what they may produce. I'd expect some parties in the study group to be captive to the same dogmatic Palestinian school of thought that brought us the one—sided resolution on Israel divestment, but others in the group are much more theologically orthodox and astute.

Thanks for the very comprehensive and useful article. I am so sorry that Presbyterians in control seem so held in sway by unsound Palestinian rhetoric. The Presbyterians I run into out in the church have no idea that is the case, or if they do know, most are appalled. We run into this control—by—the—radicals aspect in nearly everything we investigate. It's a sad commentary on what should be a much better polity for the denomination.

Blessings,

Jim Berkley

Jim Berkley, Interim Director of Presbyterian Action, writes with a valuable clarification and correction on the position of the Presbyterian Church, USA as described here

I read with interest your article in The American Thinker. With much of it I am in hearty agreement, but I felt I needed to let you know that one assertion is not quite accurate. You wrote:

"In 1987 the PCUSA formally rejected  Replacement Theology:

'We believe and testify that this theory of supersessionism or replacement is harmful and in need of reconsideration....We affirm that both the church and the Jewish people are elected by God for witness to the world...  We affirm the continuity of God's promise of land along with the obligations of that promise to the people Israel.

This official position...'

Actually the 1987 paper was not an official position that could formally reject anything. That would take a policy statement or a resolution at least. In this case, the General Assembly merely recommended a Provisional Study Paper to the churches for their consideration and feedback. I know that even the PCUSA establishment tends to treat it as some solemn decree that we have made, but that is what I've termed "document creep." See my blog on the matter: (It's in the second half of the posting.)  It is not exactly correct to say we "rejected" Replacement Theology, because that "rejection" came in a form that is not authoritative and cannot be accurately labeled an "official position." Any confusion on the matter, however, is entirely the fault of some spinmeisters in the PCUSA establishment, as my blog points out.

In 2008 a study group should report back to General Assembly on what may become a new theological paper for reflection or maybe a new policy on the matters you speak about. They will give only a progress report this June at General Assembly.  I have some reservations about what they may produce. I'd expect some parties in the study group to be captive to the same dogmatic Palestinian school of thought that brought us the one—sided resolution on Israel divestment, but others in the group are much more theologically orthodox and astute.

Thanks for the very comprehensive and useful article. I am so sorry that Presbyterians in control seem so held in sway by unsound Palestinian rhetoric. The Presbyterians I run into out in the church have no idea that is the case, or if they do know, most are appalled. We run into this control—by—the—radicals aspect in nearly everything we investigate. It's a sad commentary on what should be a much better polity for the denomination.

Blessings,

Jim Berkley