Are Non-Dispensational Views of the Church “Anti-Israel”?

In this episode of the Holy Joys Podcast, Dr. David Fry and Johnathan Arnold discuss several views on Israel and the church, addressing the common accusation that those who recognize continuity between Israel and the church are proponents of replacement theology or “anti-Israel.”

Quotes from Fry

  • Dispensationalism is a way of thinking that has been filled with the rise and fall of various ideas. It’s ripe for that because it’s a very creative way of understanding Scripture.
  • Taking a non-dispensationalist view is not anti ethnic Israel. The most pro ethnic Israel position to take is that the Church is Israel because Israel’s hope in salvation is exactly the hope and salvation of the Church.
  • As Christians, we have to make sure we are thinking about these things through Christ and who Christ is.
  • Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the promises given to Israel. Some of them are yet to be fulfilled, but they will all be fulfilled in Him. 
  • In 1 Peter 2:9, Peter takes four images used by Moses to describe Israel and applies them to the Church. There is a strong reason given to us in the New Testament to understand the Church as “the Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16).
  • Who are the meek? The meek are usually not the ones winning political office or commanding armies. The meek are usually the forgotten, the ones who are cast aside, overlooked, or persecuted just as Christ was.
  • Before you engage in further controversy or espouse a view you’re not really sure about, go through the Scripture and see what it says about the land and Jerusalem.
  • Don’t listen to the rhetoric of people who want to label anything other than a dispensational view as anti-Israel.
  • There’s nothing anti-Israel about Jesus. Romans 9-11 is as pro-Israel as you can get while at the same time being the most pro-Gentile as you can get. It’s seeing the people of God as a whole and the need for anyone who is lost and without Christ to be grafted into the Israel of God.
  • Dispensationalism is a very new idea, it’s barely 100 years old. What we are describing here is the notion of the early Methodists and it goes a long way back before that. It’s not novel. This is what you find in the early Church. There’s no room for antisemitism.

Quotes from Arnold

  • When we look at Scripture, it’s not just a story of God and individuals. It’s a story of God and His people. There are stories of God and individuals, but they’re set in this broader story of what God is doing with His people.
  • There is a view that recognizes continuity between Israel and the Church that is not a relationship of replacement but of fulfillment and of reconstitution.
  • Just as the people of God, the believing ethnic remnant, have been expanded to include Gentiles, the land promise has been expanded to include the whole new world.
David Fry
Senior Pastor at the Frankfort Bible Holiness Church. PhD in Systematic Theology (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School). MDiv in New Testament Theology (Wesley Biblical Seminary).