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In the wake of the second deadly attack in six months on American Jews in their houses of worship on Shabbat, David French, a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), published an article in National Review titled, “Dealing with the Shock of an Evangelical Terrorist.” The piece demonstrates an honest attempt to grapple with the fact that a person affiliated with the same Christian denomination of which he, French, is a member, could enter Chabad of Poway near San Diego, CA on the last day of Passover and kill one person while wounding three others.

In his article, French made an understandable attempt to separate the beliefs and actions of the Poway shooter from the theological position of the OPC in relation to Jews and Israel. Unfortunately, however, the result was an ill-informed defense of his opinion that the beliefs of the OPC, or “any church’s adherence to so-called ‘replacement theology,’” do not make antisemitism acceptable in any way.

The OPC’s adherence to “so-called ‘replacement theology’” – which results in the belief that “the nation of Israel, as it existed as the people of God in the Old Testament is no more” – is quite evident on their denomination’s website. On a pagedevoted to a question and answer concerning the OPC and national Israel, the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, chapter 19, paragraph 3 is quoted. It purports in part that “God’s people in the Old Testament are a church under age,” and that the ceremonial laws and ordinances only existed to prefigure Christ.

In their own words, the OPC believes “that Old Testament Israel was the Church before Christ came.” Paragraph 4 of the Westminster Confession adds, “To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people (emphasis added), not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.”

In other words, “The nation of Israel, as it existed as the people of God in the Old Testament is no more (emphasis added). Galatians 6:16 informs us that the Church is now the Israel of God…We who trust in Christ are now the nation of Israel!”

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