In order to demonstrate the incompatibility of Calvinism and Fulfillment Theology (FT), I have to provide an explanation of both Corporate Election (CE), and of Fulfillment Theology. I gave an explanation for Corporate Election in my previous post. In this post I will give an explanation of FT.
Since I’ve already gone into great detail about FT in my prior series on Israel and the Church, this will study will be brief. Once I’ve done that, then we’ll be ready to compare FT and CE side by side. This analysis will reveal a harmony between the two, and thus, an incompatibility between Calvinism and FT, which many Calvinists hold to.
Rather than write another introduction to this subject, I will instead quote my introduction from my series on “Israel and the Church.”
Central and key to understanding end time prophecy, is a correct understanding of the relationship between Israel and the Church. Premillennialism sees a clear distinction between Israel and the Church, that God has a separate plan for each one, as it relates to end time events.
On the other hand, Amillennialism (and all other eschatological positions), views the Church as being the fulfillment or continuation of Israel. More specifically, Christ fulfills all promises and prophecies relating to Israel, and those who place their faith in Him enter into that fulfillment, which together, make up the Church. Thus, all believing Jews and believing Gentiles are True Israel. More accurately, Christ is True Israel, and we enter into that through faith in Him.
What I’ve just described is known as Fulfillment Theology. Those who oppose this theology refer to it as “replacement theology,” which indicates that they don’t understand this position. In truth, Israel is not viewed as replacing Israel, but fulfilling or continuing Israel in and through Christ. The Church does not replace Israel. On the contrary, all the promises given to Israel find their fulfillment in Christ and in the Church. The Old Testament always had Christ in view.
I think the general misunderstanding among opponents of this theology, is that Israel is set aside in favor of the Church. Nothing could be further from the truth. When that’s the way it’s described, it’s no wonder Fulfillment Theology is regarded in such a negative way. My objective is to set the record straight in this present series. By the time we’re done, I believe you’ll see that this theology has a completely biblical and sound foundation.
In his response to John MacArthur’s lecture “Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist Is a Premillennialist,” Kim Riddlebarger does a great job of not only responding to MacArthur’s accusations, but also in providing a wonderful explanation of the Amillennial position as it relates to Israel and the Church. This article serves as a great introduction to our own discussion about this subject. Here’s the link to that article:
I strongly encourage you to read Riddlebarger’s article before reading the discussion that follows in this series, as it will give you a good bird’s eye view before dealing with the specifics of the scriptures that provide the basis for the Amillennial position.
As I talked about in my last post, I have a secondary objective in mind as I address the subject of Israel and the Church, and that’s to show the correlation between Fulfillment Theology, Amillennialism, and Corporate Election – which is an Arminian view of the doctrine of election. I contend that these three are intertwined and cannot be separated from one another. They form a union, a tri-fold of the same cloth.
Thus, I believe Calvinists who hold to the Amillennial view of prophecy (which are widely known to be most), have a theological position that’s in conflict with their Reformed Theology.
Stay with me, as I plan to bring all this together at the end of the series.