Perspectives concerning supersessionism have been seriously affected by two twentieth-century developments—the Holocaust and the establishment of the modern state of Israel. These events have pushed questions and issues concerning Israel and the church to the forefront of Christian theology.
More than any other event, the Holocaust has been the most significant factor in the church’s reevaluation of supersessionism. According to Irvin J. Borowsky, “Within Christendom since the time of Hitler, there has existed a widespread reaction of shock and soul-searching concerning the Holocaust.” Peter Ochs asserts that Christian reflections on the Jews and Judaism after the Holocaust “have generated theological questions of fundamental significance.”
In recent years, a greater awareness of the relationship between supersessionism and the major categories of Christian theology has developed. R. Kendall Soulen, for example, points out that current perceptions toward supersessionism are “fraught with profound implications for the whole range of Christian theological reflection.”[i] Craig A. Blaising asserts that issues related to supersessionism affect the doctrines of God, anthropology, Christology, ecclesiology, and eschatology.[ii] Although it is beyond the purpose of this work to examine fully how supersessionism relates to all aspects of Christian theology, a brief sketch of this relationship will highlight the importance of the supersessionist view to theology.