Questions & Answers

Is the Church called "Israel"?

Dr. Gentry:

Your discussion is great regarding Gal. 6:16 on pages 172-174 in your book titled: "He Shall Have Dominion. I like to ask you a question about how you handle the argument put forward by dispensationalists regarding Galatians 6:16 and the term Israel. They say the term is never used to refer to Gentiles. How would you respond?

C.H.

Dr. Gentry's response:

The dispensationalist reply is one of desperation in that we know that other peculiarly Jewish titles can refer to Gentiles, for example, Gal 3:29; 1 Pet 2:9. How can such Jewish designations be applied to Gentiles while this one designation (Israel) cannot?

Furthermore, we should remember also that Jesus said God is able to raise up stones to replace the Jews as the children of Abraham (Matt 3:9). If he could do that (even if this is a metaphorical statement), why could he not appoint Gentiles to take Israel's position? Especially in that they (we!) have been adopted into his family?

Finally, in Rom 11:17 we find that Gentiles are grafted into the Israel's tree. Would not the grafted branch be considered a part of the tree? Thus, in this case Gentiles would be a part of the tree of Israel and could, on this basis, be called Israel.

But really, the exegesis of Gal 6:16 in its context demands this -- even without these other arguments.