Is the Church the New Israel?

Old Testament- Israel

New Testament- Church

Genesis 12:1-3  Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Gal 3:7  Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.

Gal 3:9  So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Gal 3:14  so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Galatians 3:29  And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Genesis 26:1-5  Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And the LORD appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,   because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” Galatians 4:21-28  Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?  For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.  But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.” Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.
Genesis 17:12-13  He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. Philippians 3:3  For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh–

Romans 2:28-29  For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Exodus 19:5-6  Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” 1 Peter 2:9  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Hosea 2:21-23  “And in that day I will answer, declares the LORD, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth, and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel, and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.'” 1 Peter 2:10  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Romans 9:24-25  even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.'”

Ezekiel 16:4-7  And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born. “And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I made you flourish like a plant of the field. And you grew up and became tall and arrived at full adornment. Ephesians 2:4-7  But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

 

 

Jeremiah 31:31-34 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

 

 

Hebrews 8:6-13 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.  or I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

 

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20/20 Episode on Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Churches. What should we take from it?

Those who are in IFB churches should be thankful that apparently either Elizabeth Vargas or her producers have very limited rhetorical abilities. I know what they were trying to prove, and they even alluded to it several times in the episode. But I found the episode’s narrative quite unconvincing. But I was not raised on MTV or Twitter. I am sure many found it emotionally compelling, but I have to imagine that people with critical thinking skills found little worthy of praise. For the most part it was sensationalism-which only hurts the victims in the end because sensation goes away but persuasion remains.

One example: the show’s claim that a male hierarchical authority structure fosters abuse and its cover up. Really? That is why there is abuse in IFB churches? That is the distinguishing characteristic? If that is the case we will certainly have episodes coming soon on a certain organization headquartered in Rome then. I believe reports of abuse in that group have been far more widespread and attempts at cover-up have been far more devious. And I am sure that there will be upcoming episodes on a certain organization centered in Mecca and the numerous rumors of child abuse, forced marriages, temporary marriages… All of the abuses mentioned are heinous and reprehensible, but they do not occur because of male-dominated authority structures. They occur because of the wickedness of the human heart.

Another problem with the report was Vargas’ seeming inability to grasp the concept of an “Independent” Baptist church. Pastor Brain Fuller attempted to speak to this issue on at least one occasion, but I am not sure Vargas ever really understood what he was trying to communicate. This is going to be a groundbreaking assertion, so brace yourself for it: but an “Independent” Baptist church means it is independent! One of the churches highlighted was First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana. Also featured in the episode were numerous sermon clips from undisclosed churches. (Something quite irresponsible by the way. “Here is something someone said somewhere, trust us.”) In any event, I grew up in an independent Baptist church and went to college and seminary at two of the institutions referenced in the episode and at none of those three places did I ever associate or was I encouraged to associate with FBC Hammond or was I ever taught the kind of deplorable things pronounced in the anonymous sermon clips. The fact of the matter is that anyone can call himself an Independent Fundamental Baptist. When anyone can claim to be one, it is a mistake to assert that everyone believes like that one. Let ABC or 20/20 assert that all imams preach hatred and suicide bombings since some of them do. Would ABC or 20/20 do such a thing? But we are to believe that just because 20/20 can find outlandish sermons from a few, or even some, Independent Baptists that all believe and preach the same thing? Nonsense.

Yet this does point out a problem with far reaching implications. There is really no effective way for Independent Baptist Churches to definitively separate themselves from association with other Independent Baptist Churches. When you give yourself the same label as a pervert, a whacko, or a heretic gives himself- what else are people to think? A tremendous theological problem with such churches is their separatist ecclesiology.

The Independent Fundamental Baptist Church is a purity movement. As a purity movement it is not new, or unique. In the 3rd century, Cyprian faced the purity movement of the Novatianists. At the turn of the 5th century Augustine dealt with the purity movement of the Donatists. Cyprian and Augustine were clear that the ideals of purity and spiritual unity could not be used as excuses to break physical communion with the established, visible church. Scripturally this is perhaps seen nowhere more clearly than in Revelation 2 and 3. In addressing several churches with serious moral and doctrinal perversions, the Lord Jesus also addresses the faithful remnant in those churches. Jesus never tells them to leave to start a new church, but to remain and stay faithful.

In their pursuit for fidelity and purity, Independent Baptist Churches have actually cut themselves off from the mechanism that fosters and protects fidelity and purity: communion with other churches. A member of ABC Baptist church can run roughshod over innocent victims secure in the knowledge that he can always move on to XYZ Baptist church. A pastor can preach or do pretty much anything he wants secure in the knowledge that it is “his” church and no one else can tell him how to run it.

“One, holy, catholic, and apostolic” is a package deal. If there is not substantial communion and fellowship with other churches, there is no protection for holiness.

I have no idea what the fallout of 20/20’s report will be. But I do know this: Christ promised to build one church. Not a conglomeration of Independent churches. Perhaps this will be used to awaken eyes that there is something more important that “independence” for the sake of purity: fellowship for the sake of accountability.

As long as Trinity Baptist in Concord, NH; First Baptist in Hammond, IN; Marquette Manor in Downers Grove, IL; Colonial Hills in Indianapolis, IN; are all “independent” churches, they will continue to be collectively evaluated by their dirtiest scoundrel.