Rabbenu Home


A Discussion of Messianic Judaism, the Emerging Messianic Jewish Paradigm, and Related Leadership Issues from the Preoccupied Mind of Rabbi Stuart Dauermann, PhD.

All Contents ©2004-2007 Stuart Dauermann - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Word About Worldview and Supersessionism

Cultural Anthropology’s discussion of worldview helps us understand why abandoning supersessionism must revolutionize mission, and will do so at a rate of speed and efficiency dependent upon our level of awareness, willingness and cooperation.

Worldview may be defined as "the central assumptions, concepts and premises which are shared by a particular group of people and upon which they base their activities"[Paul Hiebert and R. Daniel Shaw, The Power and the Glory (Pasadena, CA: 1993), 63].

Because worldview assumptions are subconscious and therefore unquestioned, they are powerful, pervasive and determinative of the behaviors, perceptions, evaluations, decisions and actions of members of any given social group, culture or subculture. Worldview assumptions are the “of courses” of a social group, culture or subculture. When someone questions or points out a worldview assumption to members of a given group, the members of the group will respond reflexively, “Of course! That’s the way things are! Anyone knows that!”

Supersessionism, a pervasive, powerful, determinative and often subconscious Christian worldview assumption, shapes the theologizing, imagining, strategizing and expectations of the Church in the following ways in varying degrees:

• The Church assumes its own spiritual hegemony, centrality and finality.
• The Church assumes that Israel has been unseated and itself installed as the present elect people of God.
• The Church assumes that the Jewish people is now just like any other nation/people group.
• The Church assumes that moral and ethical failures of the modern Israeli government disprove and negate any divine authority to their territorial claims in the region.
• The Church assumes that Jews must become Christians if they would become the people of God.
• The Church assumes that the Jewish way of life, Torah-based covenant faithfulness, is both futile and expired as a God-honoring path of faithfulness.
• The Church assumes that its program eventuates in the Kingdom of God, equating the mission of the Church with the mission of God (formerly, some equated the Church with the Kingdom of God, but this is dwindling viewpoint today).
• The Church assumes that the unity of the people of God necessitates the hegemony of the Church: that the terms people of God and Church are synonymous.
• The Church assumes that the Great Commission is not only Yeshua’s final marching orders to the people of God, but also God’s last, definitive, and comprehensive missional directive.

In varying degrees, thinkers in various wings of the Church have called into question each of these assumptions. These people are early awakeners who have made these assumptions conscious and begun to question them. Still, because supersessionism is one of the Church’s worldview assumptions, these statements are a true reflection of widespread Christian attitudes, expectations and thinking.

But when supersessionism is repudiated as being based on faulty premises, it becomes clear that all of these statements are assumptions, not axiomatic truths. All of them are presumptuous. And all of them are wrong.

At 12/15/2006 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I noticed that the only one listed as being supersessionist are church goers even though the those who are supersessionists would extend past these bounds.

Does the church just suck and this is your way of proving it?

Or was this as close to building a bridge with dumb ass Gentiles as you could bring yourself to with all the Christmas tree lights blinking in your face?

At 12/17/2006 8:32 PM, Blogger Stuart Dauermann said...

I cannot help you with your anger and your insistence on interpreting my advocating for the Jewish people as a rejection of Gentiles.

I also must say that I have never met a Jew who is a supersessionist, with the exception of one who comes to mind who was a self-hating Jew overabsorbed into a very legalistic church. So I don't know who the others are who you are alluding to. Muslims?

I will say this though. Last night I spoke for an hour on these kinds of issues to a group of about 40 or 50 Christian missionary types [at a missionary training school], and to one of the premier missiologists in the world. I spoke very clearly about my advocacy of the Jewish people and related matters. None of this entirely Gentile audiience were insulted, and I was very well received. And by the way, I distributed copies of this article "A Word About Worldview and Supersessionism" to them. They didn't react as you did. I wonder why?

I do not hate Gentiles. But you have a problem with me. I wonder if you actually resent the Jewish people being especially chosen by God. God does that kind of thing out of his own freedom, and offers us no explanations. In fact, he specifies that he does this despite the fact that we Jewish people are not especially worthy [See Dt. 7:6-8].

I suggest you read the book of essays, "Abraham’s Children: Judaism and Jewish Christian Relations," by Michael Wyschogrod, edited by R. Kendall Soulen.

The truth will set you free, but first it may make you angry.

Try and get over your animosity to me and my position, as expressed frequently in your seldom posted comments. This recent one illustrates again why that is so.

After all, "Tis the season to be jolly. Fa-la-la-la-la, la la la la."

At 12/20/2006 3:04 PM, Blogger Derek Leman said...


I became absorbed in Southern Baptist Church life for a number of years and we did think exactly like that. Whatever the church was doing (especially the sainted missionaries) was the work of the kingdom of God. It is interesting how I now see that God's kingdom is progressing more IN SPITE of people than through them. I'm not denying that Christians and Jews are used by God to advance his purposes, but God remains higher than our failures. He works through them, above them, and in spite of them (much as he did in Biblical history--is modern Christendom really healthier than biblical Israel?).

Derek Leman

At 12/23/2006 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just came across your blog while doing a search for Anne Lamott. I read the review, checked out the letter to Dobson on the subject of Mel Gibson's outburst, and read this article. I'm impressed so far. I'll keep reading. God Bless.


Post a Comment

<< Home