Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yes, George Ladd Believed that the Church is the "New Israel"

Recently a blogger called The Orange Mailman called me out for stating that George Ladd held that the church is the “new Israel.” Not only is he unhappy with my claim but he has rebuked me in a blog and has asked whether I will offer a retraction of my comments on this (as well as some other things). Below are two segments from his blog:

Vlach cites Ladd, but he does so in such a way that you think that Ladd believes that the church is the new Israel, which is not the case. Ladd never wrote that the church is the new Israel as he always used the term “the true Israel”. Notice how Vlach frames Ladd’s quote: Ladd asserted that the church is now the new “spiritual Israel.” You see how the word “new” is not in the quotes, only “spiritual Israel” is in the quotes.

So will there be a retraction of certain aspects of Vlach’s post? I doubt it. (

I thought it was common knowledge for those interested in eschatology that George Ladd believed that the church is the “new Israel.” If you scan the internet you’ll see that many others have rightly come to this conclusion as well (Mike Stallard says, “. . .  Ladd treats the Church as a kind of 'New Israel' in his commentary on Revelation.”

But since I have been challenged on this let me offer three quotes from Ladd that show that Ladd believed the church is the “new Israel”:

“James cites the prophecy of Amos 9:11-12 to prove that Peter’s experience with Cornelius was a fulfillment of God’s purpose to visit the Gentiles and take out of them a people for his name. It therefore follows that the ‘rebuilding of the dwelling of David’ which had resulted in the Gentile mission, must refer to the exaltation and enthronement of Christ upon the (heavenly) throne of David and the establishment of the church as the true people of God, the new Israel. Since God had brought Gentiles to faith without the Law, there was no need to insist that the Gentiles become Jews to be saved” (George Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament, Eerdmans 1974, 355). (emphasis mine)

“Here, in two separate places, prophecies which in their Old Testament context refer to literal Israel are in the New Testament applied to the (Gentile) church. In other words, Paul sees the spiritual fulfillment of Hosea 1:10 and 2:23 in the church. It follows inescapably that the salvation of the Gentile church is the fulfillment of prophecies made to Israel. Such facts as this are what compel some Bible students, including the present writer, to speak of the church as the New Israel, the true Israel, the spiritual Israel.” (George Ladd, “What About Israel.” (emphasis mine)

Here is an outstanding difference between participation in the old and new Israel. Membership in the old Israel required circumcision and acceptance of the Law; membership in the new Israel required individual personal faith and confession of Christ as Lord (Rom 10:9).  (Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament, 545.)

Make no mistake. George Ladd believed that the church is the “new Israel.”

I also recommend those interested to check out Some good points are made here.


  1. Agree, and that this is well known. I learned it from an S. Lewis Johnson message specifically about George Ladd and his spiritualizing the OT texts.

  2. Mike-

    Thank you so much for my very own post. I feel honored and indebted to you.

    First, let me humbly apologize. You are right and I am wrong. I own works by Ladd published in the 50's and early 60's. He did not use this language at that time. I have taken the time to modify my post so that there is no error as far as I know. I posted a section beneath so that it doesn't look like you are being untruthful about me. I acknowledge my mistake at the end of my modified post.

    I wonder why you haven't responded to my comments in the comments section. It is obvious that Ladd and other Historic Premillennialists DID believe in a future restoration of Israel. Yet instead of interacting with me or Chris Poe, you take one issue where you know you are correct and post a public rebuke. Perhaps I shouldn't be pointing the finger since I posted a public rebuke on my blog.

    I have actually enjoyed reading your blog and your point of view concerning how the OT is quoted in the NT. I just wonder why you suddenly went in this direction of misrepresenting my position on the millennium. Thank you for the correction of my mistake. Now what do you think about your comments that Historic Premillennialists do NOT believe in a restoration of Israel in light of the quote to the contrary?

    Have fun and stay busy - Luke 19:13

    -The Orange Mailman

  3. Orange Mailman,
    The reason I have not responded is because I have been out of town (Nebraska and Colorado) lately. There are several people I have not responded to yet because I have been gone. I feel bad when I don't get back to people right away but it's hard when you are in hotels and hospitals. I have to leave town again soon but come next week I should be back in the saddle. I'll be addressing these issues more. I think I've established that HP's believe the church is the "new Israel." I'll show with more proof that they differ with Dispensationalism on hermeneutics and the restoration of Israel.

  4. Orange Mailman, just so you know, as I study Historic Premillennialism I'm mostly studying Ladd and HP's that have followed him. I'm looking for the most recent and mature expressions of HP roughly in the last 50-60 years. Since Ladd is often looked to as the prime example of HP I spend a lot of time on him. I'm also looking at the book by Denver Seminary where they explicitly set out to depend HP. (A Case for Historic Premillennialism). I also look at Millard Erickson since he wrote a major systematic theology from a HP perspective. I'm also looking at Russell Moore form Southern Baptist Theological Seminary since he is a HP who interacts with other HP's (The Kingdom of Christ, 2004). As I read these men and others I see them affirming exactly what I claimed in my original blog. I just want you to know where I'm drawing my info.

  5. Hello Mike and Orangemailman,

    I am just letting you know that I am profiting greatky from this interaction, it stimulates me to further reasearch and study of Scriptures. May be one of the results of your dialogue will be a discovey of need to divide HP into two sections. For example 19th century HP and 20th century HP. It seems to me like it will not work to have it all under one umbrella like HP. In a similar way dispensationalism is diveded today into CD, MD and PD. Just my little bit.

    Jan Sichula