Is Every Promise Fulfilled in Christ? A Reply to Thomas Schreiner’s Supersessionism

[W]hat about the promise of land? This is a very controversial subject, but I would argue that the promise of land is fundamentally fulfilled, first, in the resurrection of Jesus himself. Every promise is fulfilled in Jesus; so the resurrection, the physical resurrection of Jesus, it’s the inauguration of that promise made, originally, to Adam and reaffirmed to Abraham and David. That new covenant promise is fulfilled in Jesus’ resurrection; but it’s ultimately fulfilled in the new creation – in the new heavens and the new earth where the whole universe is God’s temple, the whole universe is where God resides.” Source

This depends on what Schreiner means by “fulfilled.” If he thinks that a promise is fulfilled in X means in X instead of non-X, then that’s false. Take the promises regarding the resurrection of the righteous. They cannot be fulfilled in Jesus in contrast to Christians. Jesus’ resurrection is the first fruits, but it isn’t primarily a promise to him or for him, but for the people of God. If Christians failed to participate in the resurrection of the just, it would hardly be adequate to say the promise was still fulfilled because it was fulfilled in Jesus–in their stead. For the nature of the fulfillment is not supposed to be vicarious.

Schreiner’s supersessionist hermeneutic, then, is logically inconsistent forcing an either/or dichotomy where future promises—in this case to Israel—are collapsed into Christ’s first coming and changing the “ultimate” fulfillment from its original geographical boundaries of Israel to the “whole universe.” Supersessionists have God’s promises being superseded, rather than recognizing its future fulfillment of diversity within unity. In short, it is simply a continuation of Augustinian supersessionist eschatology.

 

 

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