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. (http://theorangemailmanmyblog.wordpress.com/)
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.” http://faculty.bbc.edu/mstallard/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/PDChallenge.pdf)
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.” http://articles.ochristian.com/article14710.shtml (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 mac-eschatology.blogspot.com. Some good points are made here.