Rev. Charles Hoffacker
Although much work remains to be done, relations have improved substantially between many Christian churches and the Jewish community in recent decades. Part of this change is due to the widespread abandonment of supersessionism, a belief held by some Christians that the Church’s covenant with God in Christ means that the covenant of the Jewish people with the one eternal God has been rendered obsolete. Another name for this belief is replacement theology.
In 1988, the bishops of the worldwide Anglican Communion met for the Lambeth Conference, an advisory gathering held every decade. One Conference document, “Jews, Christians, and Muslims: The Way of Dialogue” contains this paragraph (#16) about God’s irrevocable call of the Jewish people:
“Christians and Jews share a passionate belief in a God of loving kindness who has called us into relationship with himself. God is faithful and he does not abandon those he calls. We firmly reject any view of Judaism which sees it as a living fossil, simply superseded by Christianity. When Paul reflects on the mystery of the continued existence of the Jewish people (Romans 9-11) a full half of his message is the unequivocal proclamation of God’s abiding love for those whom he first called. Thus he wrote ‘God’s choice stands and they are his friends for the sake of the patriarchs. For the gracious gifts of God and his calling are irrevocable’ (Romans 11:28-30).
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The Rev. Charles Hoffacker is a retired priest of the Diocese of Washington